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Lukáš Reitinger

The Přemyslid Painting Series in Znojmo and the Official Catalogue of Bohemian Dukes

The article presents an interpretation of two rows of Romanesque paintings depicting Přemyslid dukes in the Rotunda of St Catherine at the castle in Znojmo that date roughly from 1086–1158. First, the author notes that there is nothing to support the claim that the dukes depicted without cloaks are subordinate to the dukes portrayed with cloaks and therefore must be Moravian dukes subordinate to the rulers in Prague or they are young or not yet adult Přemyslids — a claim that is firmly embedded in the literature and that has formed the basis of almost every attempt to interpret the paintings. The author also points out that many researchers, in their efforts to identify the dukes, have somewhat loosely mixed up the chronological order of individual rulers, duplicated some Přemyslids, or, conversely, purposefully excluded other noblemen. Attempts to interpret the paintings in the Znojmo Rotunda, however, have never fully made use of the official catalogue of Bohemian dukes, a list of noblemen in Prague that became the main axis around which memory of the Přemyslid monarchy was based. The list was already being maintained in the 11th and 12th centuries and it was on the basis of this catalogue that the order of dukes in official documents was calculated. Adalbert, a Přemyslid who became Archbishop of Salzburg in 1168, reportedly even took the catalogue with him to the Alps region. If a catalogue of Bohemian dukes was able, in the hands of a Přemyslid, to reach the Salzburg diocese, it is highly unlikely that this keystone to remembering the past and the identity of the Přemyslid dynasty that contained a list of its sovereigns, from the mythical Přemysl the Ploughman up to the current ruler at the time, could not also have been present in Znojmo in the 12th cen- tury and had a fundamental influence on the programme of monarchical wall-paintings in the rotunda of the dukes’ castle there. If we follow the simplest order in which the dukes are depicted and project the official catalogue of Bohemian rulers onto two series of Přemyslids (see figures 7, 8, and the appendix), no interpretative clash arises. On the contrary, the official catalogue, with King Vratislav II (21st in order), corresponds perfectly to the sequence of images, where the only king depicted is also in the 21st position along from Přemysl the Ploughman. If this inter- pretation is correct, the paintings can be dated as having originated in 1140–1158.

Lukáš Reitinger:

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